I turned 58 years old the other day. The horror, the horror. So, I gots to thinkin’ about which of the millions of books I’ve read (and it depresses me that phrase doesn’t read the “millions of dollars I earned” or “millions of women I dated”) were my favorites. After an intensive, scientific review (I downed some Jack and fell asleep), here they are, not in any particular order:
1. The Forgotten Door, by Christopher Key. I read it when I was eleven or twelve years old. A lot of very bad things were happening in my family at the time, and I really, really wanted to find that Door and get the hell oudda there.
2. Knee Deep in Thunder, by Sheila Moon. I read this when I was about thirteen or fourteen. Got it out of the Bookmobile which used to show up in our godforsaken part of Alabama every ten days or so. The last couple of pages, where Maris watches the boy (Jetsam?) dwindling in the distance, got to me.
Tied with it is a book called The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, by John Fox. I read it at about age 12, when I was hospitalized because of some mysterious fever I kept having. Turns out I just didn’t want to be at home. Anyways, this book, with the schmaltzy title, is one of the most tearing stories of loss I ever read.
3. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. Ten times better than The Grapes of Wrath, this is fin de siecle at its best.
4. Nightworld by F. Paul Wilson. Probably one of the scariest books ever written.
5. Empire Falls by Richard Russo. Just read it and tell me that I’m wrong.
This, of course, doesn’t list the five best series I ever read, or the best scifi or fantasy or whatever. Gist for future posts.